This graph from a Standford University Paper on “How Couples Meet” caught my attention.
Having been single for a few years now, it seems as if apps have become the socially accepted and expected way to meet a partner. But what if the way apps work and feel is really not your jam?
I am determined to help reverse that “meet through friends” graph.
When you get introduced to someone via a friend, there is instant common ground and trust. Tapping into the “web of love” as my friend Sharon Lee calls it, is where the magic happens. When a friend introduces me to someone she/he holds in high regard and loves, I show up differently, open-hearted and less garded. (By the way, this also works in a work context!)
When you meet a stranger on an app it takes a lot of hard emotional work to figure out if that person can be trusted, is a good human, is who they say they are.
Looking back, when I was still married, I realize I was so busy being married and coupled, I didn’t pay attention to who was single in my circle of friends and if I could help make an introduction.
Seeing now just how hard it this to meet someone, I wish I helped my single friends more.
The IRL enthusiast that I am, and struggling with dating apps, I started asking my friends if they can think of a single friend they *love*. If they do, I ask them to write me a little paragraph about them, share their name and email so so can add them to my ever growing secret list of wonderful singles. Then they get invited to fun small gatherings. We had one so far and it was an absolutely delightful event. We are not labeling them as a singles event, we just tell them in the beginning that we all have one thing in common and they’ll probably figure out by the end of the night what that is. We are just getting started with these, Kyle and Christina are with me on the organizing committee. Best team ever.
Let’s bring back IRL and reverse that graph by tapping into our “web of love”.
(You can read the Stanford Study here: Disintermediating your friends © Michael Rosenfeld, Stanford University *, 2019)
I’m glad to hear you push for this—back when you launched Creative Mornings and had the checkbox to indicate whether someone was single or not, I was so excited! (I was an online dating coach for a decade, from 2005-2015, and I saw the world of not just dating but online dating change massively in that interval.) I’d love to see actual successful more organic means of connecting people; I agree that a lot of the app-based approaches are soulless and (as with many tech products) tend to incentivise behaviour that’s actually quite socially destructive and often counter-productive, prioritising short term goals (cut through the noise and get someone to notice you and respond and meet up at any cost) over long term goals (truly connect with and get to know someone you have a potentially important romantic future with). Feel free to reach out if you want to involve me in this endeavour somehow; I fled the online dating business world largely because I felt that mobile app based changes to the industry were making the overall experience both more omnipresent and more miserable for most of my clients, but I’ve never stopped thinking about ways to circumvent the negative aspects of tech and use the good, positive, connected social-ness of it to make a dent in a better direction! I’ve got plenty of be happy to share if you’d like to chat. ❤️
Jul 15th, 2019 / 8:12 am
“When you meet a stranger on an app it takes a lot of hard emotional work to figure out if that person can be trusted, is a good human, is who they say they are.”
Just to play contrarian: the last person I seriously dated who was a friend of a friend was a radically different person in the context of a relationship than she was as a friend. Our friend groups were so enmeshed that the relationship went for much longer than it should have and had we met online we probably would have realized much sooner how bad we were for one another.
The trick to making apps work is accepting that no one is who they say they are – the way you perceive yourself is very different from how others perceive you. Unfortunately that means approaching every encounter with zero expectations and effectively winning the lottery, which is frustrating on so many levels that I don’t blame people for not wanting to online date at all.
Jul 15th, 2019 / 12:25 pm
Wow! I’d love to come to one of these not-calling-it-a-singles-event event! <3 Sounds promising and quiets down the anxiety of "are they gna turn out to be an asshole?"
Jul 15th, 2019 / 1:43 pm
Hello Ms. Tina!!
Would you please do an event like this for single parents in Boston, MA?
The dating world can be really stressful for single parents. You’re not only looking for a potential mate, but someone that would be willing to create a loving home for you and your kid(s).
Jul 16th, 2019 / 12:20 am
I prefer anything but meet online. About more than 10 years ago, when online dating just in the beginning, people meet via Yahoo Messenger, forum, online public chat room… I find it unsafe and unsecured, and now, with dating apps, it’s even more dangerous.
Jul 16th, 2019 / 6:52 am
I met ________Robinsonbuckler ( @ hotmail ). com on net that claimed he can help me out.He helped me bring my lover back and after some few days i noticed that my man came back to me with so much love for me. We are happily back now. people with similar problems can contact him….???
Jul 17th, 2019 / 3:45 am
I wonder how many of those “met online” dots are dating apps explicitly, or is it counting other online spaces? I met my husband through online games – a good number of people meet online through their hobbies without getting into app territory. I guess I should check out the study!
Jul 17th, 2019 / 10:36 am
I have had this post open for several days and keep coming back to look and ponder. I am also recently single (not after being married, but cohabitating for several years). My last partner and I did meet through Tinder and I am totally fine with that, but now I am finding the apps more and more… exhausting.
I love the idea of this kind of singles night and am pondering how it could work with my circle, in my city.
Jul 19th, 2019 / 9:59 am
what an idea! real world problems. real world solutions. loved it.
Jul 19th, 2019 / 1:35 pm
Such a great idea (I would expect nothing less than great ideas from you, Tina!). Could really use this in my life – just to make friends even!
Jul 19th, 2019 / 10:14 pm
THANK YOU! I’m so happy to see someone encourage people to think about single folks. It’s tough out there! I try to do my part to introduce my single friends to one another. I’m very proud of my track record. I have introduced 5 couples to each other. Everyone is still married with the longest marriage coming up on 20 years. I’m waiting for my good karma to come around and sweep me off my feet!
Jul 19th, 2019 / 11:51 pm